From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Senator Wants OSHA to Apply Brakes

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Employment, Safety and Health Administration, has asked OSHA to postpone a hearing scheduled for July 7.

The scheduled hearing is in response to OSHA’s oversight of postal service employees, railroad employees and other state and local government workers who were not included in the economic impact statement on the proposed ergonomics standards. The reports that OSHA plans to respond to Enzi’s inquiry.

Claiming that the proposed rule is one of the most far-reaching and burdensome rules OSHA has ever presented, Enzi wants more time for consideration. He argues that political pressure to move the proposed standard through quickly may result in a sloppy rule that threatens businesses.

In May, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted to block funding for ergonomics standards. Rep. Anne Northrup added the language to bar funding because the Labor Department didn’t respond to questions she raised back in March about cost, implementation and administration.

Department of Labor Secretary Alexis Herman responded to the block with a written statement. “The funding levels for vital worker programs must be restored, and the prohibition moving forward on OSHA’s ergonomics rule must be deleted in any final action.”

The full House will vote on the bill this summer and then it must pass the Senate before landing on the President’s desk. President Clinton, a supporter of the proposed standard, plans to veto the bill in its current form.